ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — A group of local students in Athens are being handed the responsibility to make some financial decisions and invest in their community.

Members of the Athens Mayor’s Youth Commission (AMYC) are taking community grant proposals from non-profit organizations in their community that has a program, project or event that will benefit the city.

After reading all of the proposals, students will then choose which non-profits will be awarded the grants, which range from $100 to up to $1,000. Students in grades 10-12 will review and score the grant proposals and debate which ones should receive the funding.

The funds for the grants come from the City of Athens and the Dekko Foundation. To operate the community grant program, the AMYC receives donations from various organizations throughout the year.

This year, the Dekko Foundation supported the group by donating a total of $5,300.

Students in the program set priorities each year for which organizations in their community need help. This year, they’ve chosen the following:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Recreation
  • Special Events
  • Environmental
  • Small Business
  • Arts
  • Helping people in need

Youth Commissioners are also given opportunities to invest their time with agencies that submit grant proposals. In recent years, students have funded and volunteered with a teen program at the Family Resource Center, provided equipment for the Athens-Limestone Community Association and volunteered with the organization’s Black History Month events.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks says the group has a lot to offer to youth in the city:

“These Youth Commissioners are passionate about the endeavors they want to support, and they will argue and defend their position and work toward a compromise so the group as a whole can make a decision,” Marks said. “It’s really fun to watch their process, but more importantly, it’s reassuring to me to see their passion for Athens and what they believe will make us a vibrant community.”

Proposals from non-profits will be accepted through April 21, 2022, at 4:30 p.m.

You can read or download the application here. To learn more about the AMYC click here. You can also email Holly Hollman here.